Over the past couple of years, I have driven a few different iterations of the Toyota RAV4 and I recently got to experience the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox. Both crossovers are excellent in their own ways and I wouldn’t be surprised if any prospective buyers would have a tough time picking between them. As such, I wanted to do a quick real-world breakdown of my thoughts on both the RAV4 and Equinox, but you can likely tell which one I prefer more.
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It’s hard to beat the premium sound system in the Toyota RAV4
Every time I get into any Toyota product, I’m delighted when it’s equipped with the optional JBL premium audio system. That’s not to say that the normal audio system is bad, it’s not, but it’s hard to beat the 11-speaker system. In fact, the 2022 Chevy Equinox that I currently have is equipped with the optional Bose premium audio system with seven speakers and I feel like the JBL system sounded much clearer.
Don’t get me wrong, the Bose system is excellent, however, it’s a little heavy on the bass and not heavy enough on the mid-range. I even played around with the equalizer and had to turn the bass really low to get to where I wanted. With the JBL system, I didn’t have to play around with anything. It’s that’s good, in my opinion.
The Chevy Equinox’s engine has more mid-range punch
While most crossover buyers may not pay too much attention to horsepower and torque figures, it’s important when you’re driving around at a mile-high elevation like me. The 2022 Toyota RAV4 is powered by a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 203 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. At sea level, that’s not bad, but when trudging uphill at 7,000 feet, the RAV4 feels like it runs out of breath.
Of course, not every crossover owner lives in Colorado, but if you need more power for your everyday drive no matter where you are, then the Equinox could be a better choice. The Equinox is motivated by a turbocharged 1.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that pushes out 170 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque and you can definitely feel the difference. That bump in the mid-range torque is perfect for getting the car going at nearly any altitude and the turbocharger makes sure that the engine doesn’t get exhausted when going uphill.
The Toyota RAV4’s hybrid powertrain is the ace up its sleeve
While the Chevy Equinox does provide more power with its sole turbocharged engine choice, the RAV4 has an ace up its sleeve with its hybrid variant. I was impressed with the RAV4 Hybrid’s power delivery, thanks in part to the added power from the electric motor. Additionally, its fuel efficiency is on point as I was able to squeeze out 38 mpg after a week of driving through the mountains and around town.
The Equinox, on the other hand, gave me an average return of 21.6 mpg during a week of driving. Obviously, if you’re looking for fuel economy, then I can recommend the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid over the Equinox.
Which crossover is a better buy?
While the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox does have a lot going for it in terms of value, comfort, and power, I would personally choose the Toyota RAV4. Both crossovers are priced similarly in the $25,000 to $36,000 range and offer the same type of safety and in-cabin technology. However, if daily drivability and fuel efficiency are high on your list, then you may want to check out the Toyota RAV4 and its hybrid counterpart.